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Honda VTR1000F Firestorm (1997-2005)

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996cc, 97bhp, 144mph, Insurance group 14

The Honda VTR1000F Firestorm is a brilliant all-rounder with few foibles: you’d be hard pushed not to have a ball on it. Regular refuelling’s a drag but better on post-01 Honda VTR1000F Firestorms, when capacity went from 16 to 19 litres, but it’s still thirsty. The Honda VTR1000F Firestorm has wonderful pull when you open it up in the midrange ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda CBR900RR Fireblade (1992-1999)

N/A

918cc, 128bhp, 160mph, Insurance group 17

The motorcycle that changed how sports motorcycles were built. The Honda CBR900RR FireBlade wiped the floor with its competitor motorcycles not by being more powerful (it wasn’t) but by being lighter. Rivals were all well over 200kg, the first Honda CBR900RR FireBlade was just 185kg which made it perform superbly. It’s still a wild ride and a surprisingly practical motorcycle too.  

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Suzuki RF900R (1995-1999)

N/A

937cc, 125bhp, 162mph, Insurance group 15

It’s not often that you get quality and style along with 'budget'. But Suzuki delivered just that when it produced the RF900R in the late 90s. A sporty sports-tourer, the Suzuki RF900R delivered plenty of punch, decent handling, comfortable versatility and, er, odd styling. Old hat today, but the Suzuki RF900R is still excellent value.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda CBR900RR FireBlade (2002-2003)

N/A

954cc, 149bhp, 170mph, Insurance group 17

The last Honda CBR900RR FireBlade by Tadao Baba is the most exciting to ride and lighter than its successors. Later Honda CBR1000RR Fireblades were faster but heavier and less involving. Like any Honda CBR900RR FireBlade this one is incredibly fast, surprisingly reliable, amazingly comfortable and well built too. A stunning motorcycle that looks extra tasty in white.

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Yamaha FZS600 Fazer (1998-2004)

N/A

599cc, 95bhp, 135mph, Insurance group 12

In many ways the older Yamaha FZS600 Fazer is better than the new model; much more midrange oomph, better weather protection, more upright riding position. But it does look kinda 80s disco from some angles and it's also a bit greedy on fuel. Otherwise, teh Yamaha FZS600 Fazer is a versatile all-rounder with great brakes and a reliable motor.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda GL1500 Gold Wing (1988-2000)

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1520cc, 100bhp, 106mph, Insurance group 15

So definitive a full-dress tourer, the Honda GL1500 Gold Wing remained in production for over a decade and (nearly) all rivals gave up bothering to compete. Third generation Gold Wing boasted all-new, super-smooth, super grunty flat-six, fabulously equipped and integrated design and lavish comfort to beat all-comers. Only recently superceded (by GL1800 and BMW K1200LT), and even then not by ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Suzuki GSX-R750 (2000-2003)

N/A

749cc, 140bhp, 171mph, Insurance group 16

For a bike with a lineage as race-bred and focused as the Suzuki GSX-R750, it’s no small irony that the original superbike is something of a compromise. It has all the handling of the 600 and most of the usable power of the 1000. The result is a motorcycle that’s near perfect on road or track. The Suzuki GSX-R750's handling ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki GSX-R600 (1996-2000)

N/A

599cc, 92bhp, 150mph, Insurance group 14

A raw, involving, lunatic on wheels. The more throttle-happy you are with it, the more the Suzuki GSX-R600 will thrill. Virtually dead low down, wake it up at higher revs and you’ll be clinging on for dear life. Not as finely honed as today’s Suzuki GSX-R600 but, for some, that just adds to the manic appeal. Ridiculous, dangerous fun.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda RVF750R RC45 (1994-99)

N/A

749cc, 120bhp, 160mph, Insurance group 17

Like the race version, Honda's road-going RC45 doesn't quite hit the spot, but it's still an impressive piece of exquisite engineering. As the ultimate ‘90s Superbike, the Honda RC45 lacks the pure focus of a Yamaha R1, the visceral punch of a Ducati 916 or the exotic edginess of a Bimota SB6R. Also, people might think your Honda RC45 is a Honda RVF400 ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda ST1100 Pan European (1989-2004)

N/A

1084cc, 100bhp, 134mph, Insurance group 13

For anyone looking for a long-distance tool the Honda ST1100 Pan European is probably one of the safest bets around. The only problem is availability – owners rate them so highly that low-mileage machines are rarer than hen’s teeth. Not that mileage matters as the motor and construction quality is thermospherically high.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5

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